A crowd of fans gathered at Shipyard's Park in Whitehorse, YT to cheer on the sixteen mushers racing in this year's Yukon Quest. Board member and local musher, Jonathon Alsberghe, and his team of the "fluffies" was first to leave Shipyard's Park in memoriam of legendary musher, Bruce Johnson.
The 450-mile mushers departed at 11 AM, led by the #1 bib, Aaron Peck, followed by Connor McMahon, Michelle Phillips, Mille Porsild, Mayla Hill, and Louve Tweddell.
Leading the 250-mile mushers was Craig Houghton, a high school principal from Fort St. James, B.C., and his team. Ilana Kingsley of Stinky Pup Kennels in Whitehorse was up next, followed by Michael Burtnik, who is racing in the Quest for the first time. Aiyana O'Shaughnessy, who also works as a handler for Tagish Lake Kennels, departed fourth, with Jess Sears of Dog Song Rising rounding out the 250-mushers.
The 100-mile mushers departed with Jonathon Lucas wearing the #40 bib, Luc Tweddell of Mendenhall was next, followed by Debbie Knight. Janna-Lee Cushing with her team of Siberian huskies departed with Nate Metzen of Northern Shark Working Dogs the last to head out. 100-mile mushers will rest at Time Station 1 to fulfill their 4-hour mandatory rest before carrying on to the finish line at Braeburn.
Thank you to our team of amazing volunteers for setting up the start line and helping coordinate in dog yard before the race! And to all of our dedicated fans in the community for coming out to cheer mushers on as they head out on the Quest trail.
Stay tuned! More to come from Braeburn Check Point.